Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beeks, Harshbarger, Holbrook, Allen: So many places, so little time!

Finding the information I'd like to have about our ancestors is hard. Some of our ancestral lines trace back through many counties and over half of the states in the Union.  Each county and each state has little quirks to learn about. Some are similar in how they store records, and some are not.  Here's a rough view of what families were in what states:

Beeks: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Delaware
Harshbarger: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa
Allen: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Iowa, Missouri, Utah, Oregon (also Nevada, California, Florida, Nebraska, Michigan although no "vital records" type events took place there)
Holbrook: Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont

Most of these states involve at least three counties each, over differing time periods.  Some counties have multiple families, sometimes from two or more lines.  I still have a lot of brick walls in all of our lines, and it's possible that more states will need to be added to this list. 

Then, there's Nova Scotia, which shows up in the Allen line. 

Once you get back across the ocean, the great majority of our known ancestors came from either England or Germany, although there are some from Wales, from Scotland, and from Ireland.  Going further back would bring in all of the countries of Europe, and further back we can even get into the Middle East. 

What's a family historian with limited budget and no foreign language skills going to do?  I am very grateful for the internet, for the subscriptions I have to some of the main databases, and for the fact that I live near the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.  Still, I know there are precious finds that can only be found at or near the locations our ancestors live.  So many places, so little time!